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MERC Khalid Al Qassimi aims for victory in Rally Oman

Rally Oman 2006
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 3 of 8

For immediate release
Saturday, April 1st, 2006

UAE’S KHALID AL-QASSIMI BIDS TO END AL-
ATTIYAH’S WINNING STREAK IN RALLY OMAN

Former regional champion in determined mood

MUSCAT (Oman): The UAE’s Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi, the 2004 FIA Middle East Rally Champion, is determined to end his arch rival Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah’s winning streak in next week’s Rally Oman. The event is the third round of the 2006 regional series and is being organised by Intevents under the patronage of the Ministry of Tourism, with assistance from the Ministry of Sports Affairs, Royal Oman Police, the Ministry of Interior, MOD and Muscat Municipality.

Al-Qassimi and British co-driver Nicky Beech have been putting the final touches to their preparations for the Sultanate’s premier motorsport event, which is sponsored by Bank Muscat in association with Gulf Air and Intercontinental Hotels and takes place on April 5th-7th.

~Nasser has made a good start to the season,~ admitted Sheikh Khalid. ~But behind his lead in the championship is a very different story. The first round in Al-Ain was extremely close and I only lost the victory on the final stage of the event. I was full of confidence coming off the back of my win on the Dubai Rally last December.

~In Qatar I had a mechanical problem and there was no way back. Nasser knows the stages there very well and I was never able to regain the advantage. But Oman could well be different. The stages are superb driving roads and I am confident that we can get back on track to regain the championship momentum. I had cruel luck here two years ago and still went on to win the championship. Last year was extremely exciting and very close, so it will be very interesting next weekend.~

Al-Qassimi will drive his new Prodrive-built Subaru Impreza WRX STi for the third time with support from the Italian tyre company Pirelli and new sponsor Finance House. The car is looked after on events by the Australian former FIA Middle East Formula 2 champion Ron Cremen and the team uses a selection of Gulf-based and European mechanics.

~Khalid has shown a maturity about his driving this season, particularly under pressure,~ said Cremen. ~He is focused on the task of reducing Nasser’s championship lead and I am sure that he and Nicky will give it 100%. I remember how much I used to enjoy competing in Oman and I know that Khalid is looking forward to this event.~

Al-Attiyah currently leads the regional series with a maximum 20 points after taking a pair of victories in Al-Ain and Qatar, but the regional series still has to visit Oman this coming weekend, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Cyprus before the season’s finale in Dubai at the start of December and Al-Attiyah’s rivals know full well that there are many potential surprises and shocks still to happen before that final special stage of the season in eight months time.

Further support for Rally Oman 2006 comes from official communications partner Oman Mobile, leading energy drink producer Red Bull, Precision Tune Autocare, Automan magazine, Infocomm (the official WAP Provider) and Baabood Computers.

Ends

For further media information:
Neil Perkins, 2006 Rally Oman Press Officer, NDP Publicity Services, NCH Building, Upper Bar, Newport, Shropshire TF10 7EH, United Kingdom.
Tel: + (44) 1952 825078, Fax: + (44) 1952 825001, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153
E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)


Date issued: 01/04/2006

For further information or assistance please contact:

NDP Publicity Services
Holly House, Station Road, Newport,
Shropshire TF10 7EN United Kingdom

Tel/Fax: +44 (0) 1952 825001
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